BookCon + BookExpo Survival Guide

It’s officially con season! The best part of the year!!

This year will be my third or fourth Bookcon (I honestly don’t know), and my second BookExpo, so I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned over the years. This will be split into three parts (BookCon, BookExpo, and tips for both) because while they are similar, there are definitely some things that only apply to one specific event and not the other.

Whether this year is your first or your fifth, I’m hoping you’ll learn something here you didn’t know before!

Alright, let’s get started!

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A Super Late April Favorites + May TBR

The month may almost be over but I can’t not talk about my favorite reads in April, or not set a goal for myself for May. Admittedly, I don’t have much time to complete that goal, but lets be honest, I never actually read everything on my TBR.

Read more to see the best things I read last month, and the books I’m hoping to adore this month!

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The Bride Test by Helen Hoang – Did It Survive The Hype? (Review)

Overall: 5/5 Stars
Characters: 5/5
Setting: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot and Themes: 5/5
Awesomeness Factor: 5/5
Review in a Nutshell: The Bride Test will not let you down. It has everything you could want in a romance, and more.

“How did you change your life when you were trapped like this? Her history didn’t define her. Her origins didn’t define her. At least, they shouldn’t. She could be more, if she had a chance.” 

// Content Warning: Grief, Mental Illness, Autism, Mature Content //

”Warm. Content. Safe in his arms. Him safe in hers. She hugged him tighter. He was bigger and stronger, but she would protect him with everything she had.”

– Premise –

The Bride Test is a companion novel to Helen Hoangs debut, The Kiss Quotient. You definitely don’t need to read The Kiss Quotient before reading this, but I still highly recommend it because The Kiss Quotient is one of my favorite books of all time. If you did read it, then you may remember Khai. Khai is convinced that he can’t love, but his mother has decided that he needs to get married, so she goes to Vietnam to find him his bride. When Esme is offered a trip to America to marry Khai, she agrees to try to win Khai over and get a better life for her and her daughter. 

– Writing & Setting-

Helen Hoang is slowly (well, actually, not so slowly) becoming my favorite romance author. Her books are so fun, down to earth, and just amazing. Her writing style is simple and straightforward, with lighthearted humor and so much heart. The settings of her books don’t really get much attention, but they don’t need to, because it’s the characters that shine. 

He always expected her to turn him away, but she never did. It was a heady thing, her acceptance.

– Plot –

I couldn’t put this book down. I meant to just start reading it, because I was in a slump and thought maybe it might get me motivated to read again, but I didn’t expect it to fully take over my evening. I couldn’t stop reading! I finished in one sitting and just wanted more. The plot is fast-paced, with drama unraveling at every corner, and the relationships developing at the perfect rate. There is not one boring moment in this book.

– Characters – 

Helen Hoang writes neurodivergent characters so well. It just fills me with so much joy, seeing autism and mental illness represented so well. These characters are realistic and honest, but mental illness is never demonized or even dramatized. It’s such an accurate portrayal of living with a psychiatric disorder. But enough about that, because that is just a small aspect of this book and these characters. Khai and Esme are both beautifully developed and fleshed out characters. I especially love how Esme struggles when she comes to America were never glossed over. 

“My heart works in a different way, but it’s yours.”

– Conclusion –

Pros- Fantastic representation, amazing characters, adorable relationship
Cons- I just need more from Helen Hoang. I need more books! They’re all too good!! 
Overall- 5/5 stars. 
The Bride Test is an absolutely perfect romance, with strong characters who have amazing chemistry, and great representation too!

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I had such high expectations for this book, and I’m so glad it lived up to them! Have you read The Bride Test? What’d you think? What’s one book that surprisingly lived up to all of your hopes for it?

What’s New in May? (Top 10 May 2019 Book Releases)

Yes, I know this is super late. I usually try to post these the week before the month actually starts, so I’m a little off. Just blame finals and theater. Now that all of that is over, I’m getting back to my normal schedule and ready to talk about all of the new releases from this month (in no particular order)!

Note: While I usually talk about YA, not all of these on this list are. I’ll label the couple of adult books that are listed here to make it clear!

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Bullet Journaling: A Bookworm’s Guide to Getting Started

Bullet journals have really grown in popularity in the past couple of years, and whenever I looked at those amazing pictures on instagram and pintrest, I would get so intimidated. I have no artistic talent, and no creativity, plus I’m a perfectionist. So basically, the worst combination for a bullet journaler. I never let myself try it, because I was so afraid I would be bad at it.

Well, in December 2018, I decided to try it anyways. No one else would know, but me, so if I failed spectacularly, only I would witness it.

I’ve been bullet journaling for about six months now, so I’ve decided to share what I’ve learned, and my advice for beginners. And since this is a book blog, I’ve also included pictures of some of my bookish spreads!

This will be an overview of sorts, so if you want specific tutorials on how I did any of these spreads, let me know!

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Currently Reading: We Hunt The Flame (Sands of Arawiya #1) by Hafsah Faizel

I am officially in the longest reading slump ever. It’s been months. I’m dying.

Because of this awful reading slump, I wasn’t able to finish reading my ARC of We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizel by it’s release day. That said, I still want to talk about it, so now I will.

I’m about 100 pages in, and I want to go over some of my initial thoughts, first impressions, and predictions.

(Don’t worry, I’ll keep it spoiler free!)

Okay, onto the… well I can’t say review… impression? thoughts? Let’s just get started.

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Defy the Fates by Claudia Gray – Review & Life Update

Hello! I know, its been awhile. I’m so sorry for disappearing out of nowhere. The semester is coming to an end, and school and work just got the best of me. That said– I’m back and here to stay! My posts during this next week or so may be a little sporadic as I try to survive finals, but after that, I’ll be back to my 2+ posts per week!! I’ll still be doing my monthly wrap up/tbr, as well as my May Releases, they’ll just be a little late this month.

I’ve missed ranting about books and talking to you guys! I’m so excited to be back!!! Okay, enough about me, let’s get to the review…

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Quick Stats:
Overall:
 4/5 Stars
Characters: 4/5
Setting: 5/5
Writing: 4/5
Plot and Themes: 4/5
Awesomeness Factor: 3/5
Review in a Nutshell: Defy the Fates is an action-packed ending with all of the humor, romance, and philosophizing that the first two books made me fall in love with.

“The opposite of Faith isn’t doubt. The opposite of Faith is certainty.”

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The Tiger At Midnight by Swati Teerdhala – ARC Review

The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala

(All quotes are taken from the ARC and are subject to change)
Quick Stats:
Overall:
 4.5/5 Stars
Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5
Writing: 4/5
Plot and Themes: 3.5/5
Awesomeness Factor: 4/5
Review in a Nutshell: The Tiger At Midnight is a captivating novel, focusing mostly on the physical and mental journey of two fascinating characters.

“Never greet a tiger at midnight, for they are the manifestations of your past misdeeds.”

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Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett – ARC Review

First, I just want to thank Ashley at StudyingIsMyRaisondetre on tumblr for sending me the ARC!!! I’m eternally grateful!!!

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Quick Stats:
Overall:
 5/5 Stars
Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot and Themes: 4.5/5
Awesomeness Factor: 5/5
Review in a Nutshell: Serious Moonlight is an adorable, realistic, and fun book that is perfect with a slice of pie.

“Judging people unfairly doesn’t define them; it defines you. And in the end everyone will be disappointed.”

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Bookshelf Tour + Organization Tips

Before I get into this, I just want to mention a post I made of 8 Things Every Book Collector Has Heard. I also just made a post about consumerism in the book community. Be sure to check that out! I feel a little hypocritical doing a bookshelf tour right after talking about how consumerism is negatively effecting the community. However, I think it’s possible to let yourself take pride in your collection and share it with others while also being aware that it became the way it is because of an unhealthy mentality surrounding book buying as well as pressures from the community.

Disclaimer: This collection has been a lifetime in the making. I’m 21, and I’ve been actively collecting books & bookish things with every spare dollar I’ve had, for over six years. This didn’t happen overnight, so if you’re just starting a collection and desperate to make it bigger, just give it time! Don’t go out purchasing a dozen books you never want to read. Be patient and let it grow with you.

One of my favorite things in my life is my book collection (also my dogs, who love to jump in any pictures I try to take of my collection). It’s been years in the making, and something I spend most of my extra time and money on.

I know it’s definitely excessive, but it brings me so much joy that it’s worth losing all wall space in my bedroom. And today, I wanted to go into detail on my shelves and how I organize them, as well as some tips I’ve learned.


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